With the October 2004 review, we began rating the books on the basis of one to four trowels;
one trowel= don’t bother, to four trowels= run right out to your local book store and buy the hard cover!
The Lost Labyrinth by Will Adams
Reviewed on: November 1, 2022
HarperCollins Publishers: London
In this, the third Daniel Knox adventure, author Will Adams continues a “formula” that worked very well in the first two entries in this series: Knox is introduced as a slightly dodgy itinerant archaeologist who, when the chips are down and danger calls, can respond heroically. Danger does call often and the action comes on fast and furiously. But during lulls in the slam-bang action sequences, Author Adams relates fascinating bits of ancient lore and legend and archaeological investigation.
Daniel Knox and his fiancée, Gaille Bonnard have joined their old friend Augustin Pascal, who is to deliver a paper at an archaeological conference at Eleusis, Greece—the site of the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries of Classical Greece. Aging—and paranoid—archaeologist and Minoan scholar Roland Petitier is a late addition to the conference program and upon his arrival in Eleusis, begs Augustin for a place to stay and remain undercover while preparing for his presentation—a paper on a fabulous discovery he had unearthed during his twenty-year self-exile on the island of Crete.
When Petitier is found dead in Augustin’s rooms, apparently brutally bludgeoned to death, Augustin is the prime suspect and, in turn, is beaten badly by a rogue Greek cop. Professional jealousy is thought to be the motive for the crime as Petitier’s paper was to be a bombshell exposition on the discovery of the fabled Golden Fleece, the actual artifact—the kind of discovery that would put any archaeologist in the same heady company with Sir Arthur Evans or Howard Carter.
The legend of the Golden Fleece, so central to the myths of Jason and the Argonauts, is neatly worked into the plot of The Lost Labyrinth, as those ancient heroes sought out the fleece in Colchis, an area in what is now the former Soviet republic of Georgia. This latter point is important in that word of Petitier’s possible discovery had been leaked to the head of the notorious Georgian organized crime family, Ilya Nergadze. Having gained control of all of the levers of power in the criminal underworld, Ilya has now lusted after politically controlling Georgia as its president. And what better way of cementing the vote of all good Georgian nationalists than by bringing back the fleece to its original home—Colchis (Georgia)!
Thus Knox finds himself caught up in a cat’s cradle of danger and intrigue as he seeks to clear his friend Augustin of a charge of murder while dodging the deadly efforts of the Nergadze family, who believe he has knowledge of the Golden Fleece’s whereabouts. Seemingly unrelated plotlines merge on the hilly terrain of the island of Crete, home to the Minoan civilization, and the focal point of so many ancient myths—and now the focal point of very contemporary danger and violence. And Daniel Knox is in the middle of it.
This is an imaginative and exciting thriller—much like its two predecessors—but it is blemished, in this reviewer’s opinion, by the excessively vivid descriptions of the pathological brutality and torture carried out by the Nergadze family. For that reason alone, two trowels, and a warning that some readers may find parts of the book quite upsetting.